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Montezuma Muckrace

September 6, 2024 September 7, 2024

Birdwatchers from all over New York State and beyond will descend on the Montezuma Wetlands Complex for the Annual Montezuma Muckrace. The Muckrace, organized by the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, is a 24-hour birdwatching competition that raises funds for bird conservation and environmental education programs in this birding hotspot. 

September is a great time to be birding at the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, one of New York’s most exciting birding destinations. The Complex has been designated as a globally significant Important Bird Area by Audubon New York and serves as a critical stopover for millions of migratory waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds and birds of prey, including many threatened and endangered species (e.g., Bald Eagle, Pied-billed Grebe, Black Tern and Short-eared Owl).  The 242-square mile Montezuma Focus Area, which was highlighted under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan as critical migratory bird habitat, serves as the boundary for the Montezuma Muckrace. 

Birding teams can register under several categories (Collegiate, Competitive, Youth, Low-Carbon, Photo, Family/Mentor, or Recreational) and bird together from 7 p.m., Friday, until 7 pm, Saturday, to locate as many bird species as possible.  Winning teams over the past several years have identified as many as 148 species, and collectively, as many as 192 species have been seen in a single day. 

This event, now in its 27th year, has grown in popularity and set records for participation in each of the past 5 years. Prizes are awarded to all participants with those teams that record the most species getting first crack at the prize table.  Besides funds and prizes donated by sponsors, money is also raised through pledges sought by participants. The Muckrace teams that raise the most money and locate the most bird species get their name engraved on custom-made trophies which are on display at the Montezuma Audubon Center. 

Event organizers include the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, N.Y.S. Department of Environmental Conservation, Audubon NY and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The Montezuma Audubon Center, 2295 Route 89, Savannah, NY, will serve as the event headquarters, with participants returning to the Center at the end of the Muckrace to compile their checklists, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy recapping highlights of the day. 


Montezuma Audubon Center

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Montezuma Audubon Center

2295 Route 89
Savannah, NY 13146 United States
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